The tattoo I finally got in a ‘been thinking about it for months’ kind of spur of the moment. It’s a line from Ovid’s Letters of Heroines between Laodamia and her husband, Protesilaus, beseeching him to take care while he fights in Troy. He was dead by the time she wrote it – first off the ship hoping to end the battle and return to his wife, he was among the first killed.
The tattooist swore and grunted like he had some sort of machismo Tourette’s (there were men to impress, after all). The valium had kicked in so I didn’t mind that he didn’t seem to notice there was a lady present. Probably deciding I was too posh to get the references, he stopped and rather sweetly asked if my man was a sailor.
There was an enormous couple in there having the dates of when they moved in together tattooed on the back of their necks and a man with his shirt off trying to find a space for Freddie Krueger and an angel with enormous breasts. Might have had to reduce the cup size to fit her in. I felt very restrained standing there with my one line of poetry, but different strokes and all that. I like reading poems and Mr Kreuger-Angel likes cavernous cleavage and horror films.
I distracted myself with chocolate while his dad wrote on me, apologising in case it was ‘a wee bit nippit’ then limped off home and woke up in the night wondering why on earth I’d written on myself in indelible ink. I love it now. Read the whole text – you might think I should have got a different line. There’s my other thigh to write on. My whole body, in fact.